Rihanna entered the pop culture scene at such a young age it’s easy to forget that she’s been around for more than a decade.
She started her music career back in 2005 when she was just 17 years old and quickly expanded to pop culture, fashion, film and philanthropic work that saw her rise to the very top of the celebrity pyramid. Now, 11 years after the release of her first album, MTV has finally honoured the singer with one of their most prestigious awards: The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
It was the highest honour they could bestow on her, which is why they couldn’t just give it to her. It had to be a ceremony and it had to be special. And who better to present the award to one of the most popular singers of this generation, than another mega popular musical icon. MTV gave her long-time friend and admirer, Drake, the stage to present her with the prestigious award and his opening couldn’t be more perfect.
He talked about the time he first met Rihanna, on the set of Pon de Replay, way back in 2005, when he was just an extra in her music video. He touched how the two of them became good friends over the years, and not long after that, he decided to drop the L-word and that’s when our hearts instantly melted.
“We love the music, which can change styles from album to album,” Drake said. “We love the videos which change their artistic vision from year to year. But most of all, we love the woman who hasn’t changed from day one.” Then he said something so raw and emotional, it immediately struck our hearts.
“She’s someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22-years-old. She’s one of my best friends in the world. All my adult life, I’ve looked up to her, even though she’s younger than me,” he said as the crowd woke up as if it got a sudden jolt of energy. “She’s a living, breathing legend in our industry. Ladies and gentleman, the recipient of the 2016 Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, Rihanna!”
Rihanna, who by then was all smiles, took the microphone to thank MTV, her fans and most of all, her country. “This is such an amazing night. It’s such an amazing moment in my career,” she began. “When I think about the Vanguard Award and receiving this tonight, all I could think of was my country. They’re going to be so proud This is the first Vanguard to land anywhere close to my country.”
“My success, it started as my dream. But now my success is not my own. It’s my family’s. It’s my fans’. It’s my country’s. It’s the Caribbean as a whole. It’s women, it’s black women. So many people feel like their little piece is such a major part of this puzzle. And I have to thank you guys for supporting me over and over!” She then turned to Drake to thank her friend and conclude what was a very emotional evening.